Shine a Light of Hope: A Letter from Executive Director and BOD President

Dear Friend,

2020 will forever be known as the year of one of the most impactful and furthest reaching public health events in history. We have had to pull together, and stand apart. With no stone unturned, we have had to re-think many of our routine habits through a new pandemic lens. In doing so, we have become even more aware of the importance of our health, our families, and the need for companionship. And conversely, recognize that isolation and depression are very real factors during this time.


Friendship Center has not been immune to any of this, and the effects of COVID- 19 have fundamentally changed the course of how we do things. Prior to the pandemic, our Montecito and Goleta Centers were home away from home for many seniors with dementia in our local community. Members came in person to join their friends and our warm, welcoming staff to participate in face to face activities in a safe environment designed to spark joy and provide relevant, stimulating socialization and excellent care. Since March, that delivery model has changed, but one thing that has not changed is our focus: maintaining connection with all of our members and caregivers to ensure and assist in their care and wellbeing, until our onsite capacity is restored.

We have made impressive strides as leaders in adapting to our current predicament, and are actively serving our members in multiple alternative ways that are creative and effective. We have been offering virtual activities at no cost to our members since March via Zoom, and have worked closely with their caregivers to ensure accessibility to the technology and support needed to make this vital connection. This project has been wildly successful based on attendance and member/caregiver reviews. We have exciting plans to expand our offerings in this regard, including gaining membership subscriptions from other care providers seeking our services for their clients. Additionally, we have been busy making regular deliveries of essential supplies (Take Care Totes), hosting socially distanced events (Drive-Ins), providing therapist-led caregiver support groups (via Zoom) and doing regular care calls to our members.

With your help, Friendship Center can continue to shine a light of hope, connection, and joy to our members at a time when they would otherwise be isolated. Will you please help us continue these vital services to our members? Your gift can help isolated seniors with dementia and other disabilities reconnect with their Friendship Center community of support, and bring quality care, joyful socialization, and meaningful routine back into their lives. Thank you for considering making a contribution to Friendship Center, your gift is far reaching and so much appreciated!

Wishing good health and happiness to you and your loved ones,

With sincere gratitude,

Heidi Holly, Executive Director and Joe Wheatley, Board President